MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - This might be the worst offensive slump Ron Gardenhire has seen as manager of the Minnesota Twins. Ditto for slugger Justin Morneau.
Delmon Young had three RBI singles in his return to Target Field and Victor Martinez knocked in four runs to lead the Detroit Tigers to an 8-1 win over Minnesota on Friday night.
It was the Twins' sixth straight loss - all at home. Minnesota has scored just five runs during the skid and is 21 games under .500.
``I've never been part of anything like this,' Morneau said. ``Definitely not going to get used to it, don't want to get used to it, don't want to go through it. We need to find a way to get out of it and not just start looking toward next year. We've got a month left in the season.'
Scott Diamond (0-2) allowed five runs on 11 hits in 6 1-3 innings in his second major league start.
Minnesota found itself in the unusual position of seller this month after a 5-18 August pushed the Twins from seven games back of Detroit to 16 heading into this series. Young was sent to Detroit in a package which included reliever Lester Oliveros and Class-A pitcher Cole Nelson.
The Twins then traded slugger Jim Thome, who recently hit his 600th career homer, to the Indians on Thursday. Minnesota was also without Joe Mauer, who is nursing a neck injury, and Tsuyoshi Nishioka, who is still bothered by back spasms.
Without them, Minnesota had trouble putting anything together against the previously struggling Rick Porcello (12-8).
The Twins loaded the bases in the second, but managed just one run on Drew Butera's RBI single. Ben Revere made the final out of the inning on a close play at first base, which drew Gardenhire out of the dugout to argue with umpire Bruce Dreckman.
``Sure that was a tough call, but when you step back, we had the bases loaded,' Gardenhire said. ``You have to take advantage when you load the bases up, you have to come up with some big hits and we're not doing it.'
Not only are the Twins failing to get the big hit, they're having trouble coming up with any hits at all.
The Twins have been outscored 127-69 and outhit 250-177 in August. They've lost 14 of their last 16 home games and will have to try and snap out of it against Cy Young candidate Justin Verlander on Saturday afternoon.
``Instead of trying to get everyone in, we need to make sure we get one guy in,' Morneau said. ``Instead of trying to do more, we need to try and do less. Simplify it one at a time and get the guys in when they're out there.'
Diamond hung tough through six innings, but was removed after loading the bases with one out in the seventh.
Young's dribbler down the third-base line off reliever Glen Perkins stayed fair, allowing Ryan Rayburn to score. Victor Martinez delivered a two-run double later in the inning to make it 5-1 and put the game out of reach.
Young's first two RBIs came on infield singles.
``We're fortunate because he fit right in with our guys,' Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. ``I think he likes it pretty well here, as well. He's a good guy. He's a good player and he's really, kind of, what the doctor ordered for us in that three hole at this time.'
After making his major league debut on July 18, Diamond was sent back to Triple-A Rochester where he went 0-6 with an 8.13 ERA.
``I've been struggling a little bit. To be honest I didn't feel like I'd been pitching any different down there than I did tonight,' Diamond said. ``I was just getting some bad breaks and some broken bats. I'm just going to keep trying to pitch like I have been up here.'
NOTES: Nishioka was a late scratch from the lineup after Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire witnessed him having trouble throwing during pregame warmups. Nishioka has missed the past five games and could miss a couple more, according to Gardenhire. ... Mauer was feeling better after missing the past two games with neck soreness, and was available off the bench if needed. ... A day after trading Thome to Cleveland, the Twins stuck with their planned giveaway and passed out 10,000 Thome mini wind-up walkers. ... Detroit has won 14 of the past 17 games between the two teams. ... Tigers RHP Justin Verlander (19-5) takes the mound for Saturday's afternoon game having won five straight starts. Verlander is 9-7 all-time against the Twins with a 3.41 ERA, but is 2-0 with a 1.15 ERA in two starts this season. ... Right-hander Carl Pavano (6-10) makes his 27th start of the year for the Twins. He is 0-1 with a 5.54 ERA against Detroit this season. He's lost his last four decisions, but does have a 3.20 ERA in four August starts, going 0-2 in that time.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved